Code Conference

Apple partner Didi Chuxing says it is raising a huge funding round


Uber rival Didi Chuxing is building a war chest.

The company — — is currently raising another round of funding that is even bigger than Uber's latest $3.5 billion round, said Didi Chuxing president Jean Liu.

"On the Uber news — I have to say — our industry is actually very early stage, so the more capital that goes into it, the faster it grows, so it benefits every one of us."

Liu revealed the news on stage at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. on Wednesday, right after . (Recode executive editor Kara Swisher said she probed Uber on the interesting timing of their announcement, which reportedly was purely coincidental.)

Didi has already raised $5 billion, and the company just broke another record — it completed 14 million daily rides. "There is huge room to grow, but you can't just grow yourself, you need a lot of strategic help," she said.

What's most important right now is winning users, she said.

"Fundraising can go on forever but at the end of the day you still need to figure out, if you want to win the market, it's really to win the heart of the user," she said. "That is what we are focused on."

Liu shared the stage along with Anthony Tan, CEO of Grab, another rideshare company. Both executives agreed that — beyond just raising cash — they looked for strategic partnerships. For Didi that has meant partnering with Apple and Tencent to drive penetration in China particularly. For Grab — which has raised $700 million to date — that meant partnering with the China Investment Corporation and Softbank.

Tan said the secret to success in the markets it is aimed at, including Southeast Asia, is providing locally relevant services. The cookie cutter model just won't work in certain countries, said Tan.

"Taking away the capital side, what is really important is this whole user experience," he said. "It's being locally relevant, city by city."

For complete coverage of the Code Conference, visit Recode.

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